Problem Solvers


‘It burns me up,’ Daughter says after elderly parents charged thousands for magazines

Posted at 7:05 PM, May 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-18 19:08:53-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- A Chester woman reached out to CBS 6 Problem Solvers after she says a magazine company charged her parents thousands of dollars for magazines they never read.

Teresa Stone-Sensibaugh says she believes her parents were taken advantage as her father is legally blind and her mother was diagnosed with cancer.

Stone-Sensibaugh said she recently moved her parents from Florida to her Chester home after the cancer diagnosis.

Teresa's parents

Teresa's parents

She decided to take over the couple’s finances and soon discovered unexplainable charges on their bank statement along with mounting piles of magazines. She immediately called the company, Area Publications, based out of Minnesota.

“The number was disconnected,” Stone-Sensibaugh said.

After not being able to contact the company, Stone-Sensibaugh disputed the charges with her mother's bank and learned they went back more than a year.

So she looked into the company's background.

“Eighty complaints that I found on the Minnesota BBB (Better Business Bureau) website of people who've basically had the same thing happen," Stone-Sensibaugh said.

Teresa Stone-Sensibaugh

Teresa Stone-Sensibaugh

She said at that point she decided to cancel the card that was being charged by Area Publications.

Soon Stone-Sensibaugh said she received multiple letters from a collections agency for more than $1500.

“They sent a dead woman to collections, I think that's just... It burns me up,” she said.

Stone-Sensibaugh said she wanted to share her story so the company can be held accountable and to make sure a similar situation don’t happen to anyone else.


Area Publications received a F rating from Minnesota's BBB.

CBS 6 also called the publication, but we got a fast busy signal.

Tom Gallagher, with the BBB, said if you subscribe to a magazine, you must make note of any fine print.

“Maybe this is done on a negative option. Meaning that they say we're going to send you this stuff and you get back to us in 30 days and if you don't want it we'll never send you another thing," Gallagher said.

Gallagher also reminded consumers to check their credit card and bank statements often to catch any problems as soon as possible.